November 27, 2008

Black Thursday

It's shameful what's been happening in Bombay since last night. When will they see that this is not the answer? Innocents injured, people dying on the job. God bless all those that have given their lives fighting this madness and God be with those that are still out there trying to save the rest.

Yes, it is shameful the way things are panning out but I find it even more shameful that the breaking news on almost all the channels is that England have cancelled the remainder of their tour. We all love sports, especially our cricket. But please, let's put things in perspective.

November 18, 2008

The Namesake

We loved it. It was short, cute and yet powerful. It wasn't a new name, just that we had never heard it used itself. It was a part-of-something-else name. But we still loved it. The reactions were mixed. The older generation found it hard to conceal their bewilderment. The younger generation (ours) thought it was cool. Whenever we mention it now, there's always a follow-up question...about the meaning and if there is more to it.

It makes me wonder if we've pulled a Gogol...

November 13, 2008

Resemblance bias...or is it?

The baby looks like...who? Mom? Dad? Mom's brother? Dad's sister? Paternal Grandad? Maternal great grandmom? None of them??? A completely random-looking baby? Isn't is amazing how different people can see whomever they want to see in a little baby? And it doesn't even stop with just overall resemblance, but goes into much greater detail.

Nose looks like dad's, fingers are shaped like mom's and so on. And you don't hear all this only from friends and family who have a reason to be biased. Step outside the house (at least in India) and you will have complete strangers stop by and take a stand on who the child looks like leaving the parent awarded the resemblance feeling--secretly, of course--very thrilled, while the other parent--visibly, of course--very irritated.

This must mean that all moms and dads resemble each other in some strange way. How else could you explain such a peculiar phenomenon? 

November 11, 2008

Train travel trial(s)

Every summer all through school, I took train journeys with my grandparents. Rocky motion, non-stop snacking, reading under the dim lift-up lights, sleeping in the upper berth...many fond memories but always one peeve. The loos. As a kid, I don't think anything was scarier than the thought of having to use those loos. Many years have passed, many new trains and routes introduced, many techie things added(like plug points in the compartments, cell phone towers for coverage etc) but the loos have stayed the same. And overall cleanliness seems to have worsened.

I discovered this at the cost of taking my kids on a long train ride from Hyderabad to Madras. Sky rocketing fuel prices increasing the cost of flight tickets and saying Bye bye to Begumpet prompted this experimental train ride to Madras. First a/c is the business class of train rides or so we thought. (First class would be attaching your own coach to the train). The compartment was far from clean, the berths needing quite a bit of dusting and washing. An orange coloured cheese ball turned black after being dropped in the gap between the window glass and metal fix (Our intrigued kid was keen to taste that as well). A half hour into the ride and a trip to the loo revealed a broken potty and dirty, messy floors leaving it absolutely unusable. The bedding that was provided was musty-smelling and sneeze-inducing. And to top off all that, the train staff were not friendly or helpful. It's ironic that there was a bell to call them if we needed anything, but even a face-to-face didn't accomplish much. The one thing that they promptly did was to wake everyone up at all unearthly hours indicating the arrival of an important station making sure to mention that it was their job to do so.

Overall, the experiment was a bit of a flop. We will most certainly fly on our next trip. What trials that may bring is anyone's guess.

November 7, 2008

Deepavali Diary 2008

Firecrackers, new clothes, sweets and treats, parties, friends and family – that just about sums up a typical Deepavali for me. Throw two little kids into this mix, one too small to comprehend too much, while the other just about the right age to start enjoying everything and at the same time to start fearing the sound of the hydrogen bombs and Lakshmi vaedis. All it took was some fragments of a story, a few sparklers, flower pots and ground chakras...and some jaangris. How simple a child’s mind is and how easily distracted when in the company of a loving grandparent. Deepavali came and went leaving as always fond memories, plenty of pictures (thank God for digital cameras) and a few extra pounds around the waist. But this time, it also left me with another thought. Instead of everyone sending everyone else sweets who then have to figure out how to dispose off them before they spoil, wouldn’t it be nice if we could express our wishes a little differently? Can we not donate however much we wish to spend on these treats to a worthy cause and just send a card to everyone wishing them and informing them of our donation? Would that be considered cheap or would a supposedly progressive society accept and appreciate it?

I remember an episode from Seinfeld where George fakes donations to a ‘Human Fund’ during Christmas time just to escape gift-giving at work. Of course the lie catches up to him and yada, yada, yada.

But I'm not George...